On Sunrise this morning, we reflected back on "Plantation Days" as we recieve word that after more than 180 years, the sugar industry in Hawaii is coming to an end this year.
Native Hawaiians had sugar cane before Western Contact with the first sugar mill credited to an unidentified Chinese man who returned to China in 1803
In 1850 while Kamehameha IV, Kamehameha V and Missionary Physician Gerrit Judd were away, the legislature at the time passed the Alien Land Ownership Act. It allowed foreigners to hold title to land. This allowed plantations to own land and quickly turned sugar into a big business.
This forever changed the landscape of the nationalities that lived in Hawaii. Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Filipinos, Puerto Ricans and more came to Hawaii to work.
For many arriving to work on the plantations, it's been a way of life. From the beginning of plantation life and being disappointed thinking they were moving to paradise only to work hard to have their kids have more. To learning pidgin to communicate among different ethnic groups, to organizing together for rights and better wages.
As plantation life has begun to decline, people have had to find new places to live away from "plantation life" which some may regard as a little more laid back, little more simple. Some may think that "Plantation Life" was a long time ago, but we only need to go one generation back with many to remember the hard work and good times that went along with Plantation Life".